Taxpayers Gouged at the Pump

Commentary by Senator Ted Gaines  |  2017-04-26
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Here are a few facts that should give pause to anyone supporting California’s new gas tax: CalTrans is overstaffed by 3,500 people, wasting $500 million every year that could be going to roads; California diverts a billion dollars in “weight fees” into the general fund annually, which should also be paying for roads; Californians already pay some of the highest gas taxes in the country but have some of the worst roads, which points to an efficiency problem.

It’s plain to see that the fake funding crisis used to push the new taxes through the legislature was really a crisis of political priorities. The money is there – without the new taxes – to pay for modern, smooth roadways up and down the state.

Still, the legislature has a default position, and that’s to pickpocket taxpayers and businesses at every turn. Hence the new tax to backfill the waste and diversions that should be paying for roads right now.

Governor Brown, oblivious to the actual effect the bill will have on businesses and families, tried to deflect criticisms of the new tax’s cost by noting that it will set back the average family about $10 a month.

Are my rural constituents, who drive 45 minutes to get to the grocery store, supposed to be happy because of that average? Are my suburban commuters putting 80 miles a day on their cars supposed to be happy with that average? It will be meaningless to them, as they will pay hundreds of dollars more a year in gas taxes and registration fees to pay for roads that their tax dollars already could have and should have paid for.

Because of this government decision to raise gas taxes $.12 a gallon, diesel $.20, and add an additional registration fee of $25-$175 on each vehicle (and that is just a partial list of the new charges), everyone in the state can expect to pay more for everything they buy, from school clothes to groceries to laptops. Not because the items are better, but because California legislators are attaching a premium to everything with their relentless search for tax dollars.

These new taxes and fees aren’t one-time charges. They go on forever under the current bill, and will start increasing, indefinitely, starting in 2020.

I want a first-class infrastructure for our state and am willing to pay for it, but not twice. That’s what this cynical bill does to our citizens. It forces them to pay a second time for roads that their tax dollars already could have built. It’s backfilling an imaginary shortfall to cover up government failure.

A state that can afford to waste tens of billions of dollars on the colossally expensive and worthless High Speed Rail is not a state starving for money. To California’s majority party, though, every problem looks like a deficit and every solution looks like a tax. It’s killing the middle- and lower-classes in the state.

Our state has the 48th-worst tax climate already, but this gas tax proves, yet again, that legislators can’t leave unwell enough alone.

Senator Ted Gaines represents the 1st Senate District, which includes all or parts of Alpine, El Dorado, Lassen, Modoc, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Sacramento, Shasta, Sierra and Siskiyou counties.


Baker Responds to the California State Auditor’s Report

Source: Office of Assemblywoman Baker  |  2017-04-26

CA State Auditor: UC President Hiding $175 Million in Funds While Raising Tuition and Salaries

Assembly Higher Education Committee Vice Chair Catharine Baker issued the following statement in response to the California State Auditor’s recent report detailing an undisclosed $175 million reserve fund maintained by the Office of the President of the University of California and other financial concerns:

“The UC Board of Regents just raised tuition on students and has nearly doubled in-state student tuition over the last 10 years, while spending hundreds of millions of dollars on projects and administrative salaries. Students and their families deserve confidence that their money is being spent wisely. The UC Office of the President acknowledges the need to address the Auditor’s findings. I look forward to working with my Assembly colleagues, students, and the UC to get to the bottom of this and do all we can to help UC get its financial house in order.”

Baker represents the 16th Assembly District, which includes the communities of Alamo, Danville, Dublin, Lafayette, Livermore, Moraga, Orinda, Pleasanton, San Ramon, and Walnut Creek.


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Let the Good Times Rock & Roll

By Shelly Lembke  |  2017-04-26

The Baby Boomer Festival will be held on Saturday, May 6 at the Placer County Fairgrounds. The event is billed by organizers as a “‘Rock-n-Roll Fair’ that focuses on the good memories, the nostalgia, the dreams and the needs of America’s ‘Baby Boomer’ generation.”

Baby Boomer Festival Expo and Music Show

The Placer County Fairgrounds in Roseville will come alive as the gathering place for scores of people during the Baby Boomer Festival on Saturday, May 6. The Festival and Expo will feature music, cars and plenty of culture from the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s.

Billed by organizers as a “‘Rock-n-Roll Fair’ that focuses on the good memories, the nostalgia, the dreams and the needs of America’s ‘Baby Boomer’ generation,” the grounds will be packed with exhibits and demonstrations designed to inform and educate attendees.

The musical line up by world famous Elvis tribute artist Gene Lane and classic rock and rollers Road Test will keep toes tapping and fingers snapping. “Car songs, surfer songs, old time rock and roll, cruisin' songs and songs about those backseat girlfriends are included in the fun,” along with “lots of dancing and audience participation in poodle skirts, baggies, leather jackets and tight sweaters. It’s the music you grew up with,” say the organizers.

Between music sets, festival goers can meander through any or all of the nearly 70 booths with information and shopping for everything from financial services to artwork to healthful wellbeing or any number of goods and services tailored to the Boomer generation.

Not to be missed are dozens of classic cars also on display, including some of the iconic “woodies” (wood side paneled) cars. There will also be food, prizes and goodie giveaways. The event is family friendly and the organizers invite Baby Boomers to bring their children and even grandchildren to share in the experience “As you enter the expo,” according to the organizers, “you will be surrounded by dozens of exciting exhibits on a wide variety of subjects pertinent to your well-being and happiness. Many of the exhibitors have come from throughout the region to discuss their plans for your health, finance and home life. So please take the time to stop and talk with them. You might just find an ideal match for your needs!”

The Baby Boomer Festival will run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday, May 6 at the Placer County Fairgrounds, located at 800 All America City Blvd, Roseville, CA 95678. Admission and parking are free. For more information including vendor lists and musical line up, visit www.babyboomerfestival.com.


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NorCal Sport Stacking Regional Championships Arrive in Rocklin on April 29

Source: Amy Looney, Placer Valley Tourism  |  2017-04-25

Whitney High School Hosts Junior Olympic Games Qualifier for California Sport Stackers

California’s only regional championship for sport stacking will be taking place on Saturday, April 29 at Whitney High School in Rocklin. Placer Valley Tourism (PVT) is thrilled to be teaming up with the World Sport Stacking Association (WSSA) to bring this incredible event to Placer Valley.

Sport stacking is an individual and team sport that involves stacking plastic cups in specific sequences in as little time as possible. The NorCal Sport Stacking Regional Championships will showcase stackers going up against the clock in five different formats: 3-3-3, 3-6-3, cycle, doubles and the timed 3-6-3 relay. They will also hold a head-to-head relay bracket section of the tournament where a team of stackers face another team rather than the clock.

Shelly Rabe who serves as the tournament director explained that she has wanted to bring this event back to the area for quite some time and with PVT’s help everything suddenly aligned to make that happen.

 “This is such a great sport for all ages and abilities and it has such great benefits for all students involved,” explained Rabe. “I really have enjoyed my partnership with PVT and they have helped me realize that this event will flourish in Placer County.”

Not only will this tournament promise fast-paced, exciting and visually impressive action for competitors and spectators alike, but it will also serve as a qualifier for the WSSA 2017 AAU Junior Olympic Games that will be held late July in Michigan. Sport stacking is now one of only 19 sports that is included in the Junior Olympic Games.

Although stackers of any age are welcome to compete, currently the registered stackers range in age from 6-years-old up to 25. Rabe also confirmed that a few Team USA Sport Stackers will be at the regional championships. “I am excited to have them show off their stacking and encourage all our participants to keep on stacking!”

Mark your calendars and come on down to Whitney High School located at 701 Wildcat Blvd in Rocklin and see these super, speedy stackers in action!

About Placer Valley Tourism
Placer Valley Tourism (PVT) is made up for the 23 hotels in Roseville, Rocklin and Lincoln, California. PVT recruits and supports hundreds of annual events with grants, marketing, volunteers and other services as needed. To learn more about how PVT can help bring your event here, visit www.playplacer.com or call 916-773-5400.


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Local Residents Can Dress as Superheroes

Source: Kristin Thébaud Communications  |  2017-04-25

Sacramento Life Center’s Heroes Walk for Life Event to Raise Funds for Free Medical Care for Low-Income Pregnant Women, Teens

Local residents are invited to dress up as their favorite superheroes and join Sacramento Life Center’s Heroes Walk for Life on May 20 at Maidu Park in Roseville from 8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. The 2K and 5K walk and fun run will raise funds for free pregnancy services at the Sacramento Life Center, benefiting low-income pregnant women and teens. The family-friendly event will include a rally, toddler dash, bounce house, face painting, crafts, magic show, and capes and masks for kids. Registration is $30, but free for kids ages 12 and under. For more information, to sign up or to make a donation, visit www.walkingheroes.org.

“This is a great opportunity for families, individuals and teams to be heroes for mothers and babies in need of care,” said Marie Leatherby, executive director, Sacramento Life Center. “This will be a fun day celebrating the amazing work being done in our community to ensure low-income pregnant women and teens are well cared for.”

The Sacramento Life Center’s mission is to offer compassion, support, resources and free medical care to women and couples facing an unplanned or unsupported pregnancy. The Sacramento Life Center’s licensed Sac Valley Pregnancy Clinic includes a primary clinic and two Mobile Medical Clinics that provide all services for free, including pregnancy testing, STI testing, ultrasounds, advocacy for men and women, education and resource referrals. The nonprofit also offers a school-based teen education program, a 24-hour hotline and a program for women seeking support after having an abortion. For more information about the Sacramento Life Center’s Sac Valley Pregnancy Clinic, visit www.svpclinic.com. For more information about the Sacramento Life Center or to make a donation, visit www.saclife.org.


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Placer Pairs with Truckee

Source: Robert Miller, County of Placer  |  2017-04-25

Seek Federal Funding for Regional Trail System

Working together on a regional goal, Placer County and the town of Truckee are hoping to secure funding to build two sections of the Resort Triangle Trail Network, continuing an effort to connect Placer’s Tahoe communities and resorts with Truckee by a world-class trail system.

The Placer County Board of Supervisors today unanimously gave the OK for the county to apply for the funding.

“I’m just delighted that we continue to move forward on creating the connectivity on these recreation paths along the resort triangle,” said Supervisor Jennifer Montgomery, whose district includes these Placer County trail sections. “The trail that we’re going to be partnering on with the town of Truckee will ultimately end up in Reno.”

Truckee and Placer County are jointly submitting a funding application to the California Federal Lands Access Program for money to build the two multiple-use, paved trail segments that will eventually link North Lake Tahoe with Truckee. Now about halfway completed, the system will eventually be a continuous 62-miles of trails running from Truckee to Northstar, then to Kings Beach. From there the trail will continue to Tahoe City before returning to Truckee along the state Route 89 corridor.

Placer County has partnered with Truckee for a coordinated application that increases the chances of obtaining the funding. The proposed trail segments meet federal funding requirements by enhancing public access to federal lands and providing an economic driver for the region.

Placer County’s trail segment will be the continuation of Truckee's Legacy Trail from the county line west to the intersection of West River Street and state Route 89. This section of trail will include a bridge to cross the Truckee River and possibly a trailhead parking area at the intersection. The Truckee portion will run from the county line east to Brockway Road near the intersection with Palisades Drive. An analysis of the trail forecasts high use for both recreation and alternative transportation.

The estimated cost for both the Placer County and Truckee trail sections is $4.75 million. The county and the town would each need to provide an 11.5 percent match to the federal funding for their respective trail sections. For Placer County, that will be about $545,000.


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Students Bring History to Life on May 6-7

Source: Amy Looney, Placer Valley Tourism  |  2017-04-25

More than 1,000 California Students to Compete in National History Competition at William Jessup University

The National History Day - California (NHD-CA) competition returns to William Jessup University (WJU) in Rocklin on May 6-7 for the third consecutive year. Placer Valley Tourism is excited to be partnering with NHD-CA again for this incredible event that brings more than 1,000 students from throughout California to Rocklin.

This year’s theme Taking a Stand in History is explored in-depth by the students in fourth through twelfth grade in several different project categories. The grade-span is separated in three divisions: Elementary (grades 4-5), Junior (grades 6-8) and Senior (grades 9-12). Craig Irish, the NHD-CA Coordinator, explained that most students will invest anywhere from 80 to 120 hours on their projects if not more.

“We encourage the participants to go back at least 20 to 25 years and examine a topic they are passionate about, then relate it to the theme,” added Irish. “It’s very rewarding to see these youth scholars delve into their projects and to see them excited about not just learning but the process their projects take them through.”

There will be twenty-nine counties throughout California represented at this two-day event. All the of students competing at William Jessup placed in the top three in their respective county competitions that allowed them to advance on to this state level.

There are public viewing times available, a full schedule of the competition is available on-line at nhdca.org. Admission is free so come down to WJU located at 2121 University Ave in Rocklin to see first-hand the creative and innovative youth bring history alive!

About Placer Valley Tourism
Placer Valley Tourism (PVT) is made up for the 23 hotels in Roseville, Rocklin and Lincoln, California. PVT recruits and supports hundreds of annual events with grants, marketing, volunteers and other services as needed. To learn more about how PVT can help bring your event here, visit www.playplacer.com or call 916-773-5400.


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California’s Economic Output Outpaces Nation for Fourth Straight Year

By George Runner, State Board of Equalization  |  2017-04-21

George Runner, State Board of Equalization

California’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has grown consistently faster than the nation’s as a whole for four straight years. In 2015, the California GDP rose 5.6 percent, while the U.S. GDP increased 3.7 percent (unadjusted for inflation). Also called “economic output,” GDP measures the market value of goods, services, and structures that are produced within a particular period, and tends to be related to population, income, spending, employment, housing permits, and other measures of economic activity.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, the New York-Newark-Jersey City metropolitan area led the nation with an economic output of about $1.603 trillion in 2015. California was represented by two of the top 10 areas: Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim ($930.8 billion), and San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward ($431.7 billion). The Los Angeles metropolitan area accounts for 37.9 percent of California’s GDP, while the San Francisco Bay Area comprises 17.6 percent. The Sacramento-Roseville region accounts for 4.8 percent ($118.8 billion).

San Jose has been the fastest growing metropolitan area within California – and the second fastest in the U.S. – with stronger economic growth than 380 of the nation’s 382 metropolitan areas in 2015. With growth rates that ranged from 5.0 percent to 10.4 percent over the past five years, the San Jose area had the largest increase in that time frame – 37.6 percent – more than 60 percent higher than the California average gain of 23.1 percent, for a total GDP of more than $235 billion. The state’s second-largest increase was in the Visalia-Porterville area – 32.4 percent – followed by Merced (30.2 percent), Napa (29.6 percent) and Madera (28.1 percent). The Hanford-Corcoran area also finished above the state average (24.2 percent). Both the Chico and Sacramento-Roseville areas had strong showings in 2015, ranking fourth and fifth in the state respectively in GDP growth.

One way to compare economic wellbeing among regions is to calculate inflation-adjusted GDP per capita. Real economic output per capita in the San Jose area was close to twice that of the California average in 2015. Other areas with higher than average per capita real GDP include San Diego, and Napa.

George Runner represents the First District and is a leading advocate for California taxpayers.


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Banjo-Rama Brings Lively Fun

Courtesy Sacramento Banjo Band  |  2017-04-21

Shown are members of the Sacramento Banjo Band with famous banjo player Tom Smothers from the Smothers Brothers. Photo courtesy of the Sacramento Banjo Band.

The Sacramento Banjo Band will be presenting the 51st Banjo-Rama Sunday April 23 at the Elks Lodge at 5631 Cypress Avenue in Carmichael from 11:30 to 6:00.

"All profits, over and above our expenses, always go to children’s charities. In our 57 years, as a band, we have donated over $150,000 to various children’s groups," said the group. "The band does this every year because we are dedicated to keeping the Banjo popular and presenting music that has a great tune and words that can be understood and enjoyed."

This Banjo-Rama will feature nine banjo bands from all over the West Coast and seven expert players demonstrating what the banjo can do. The Elks venue will have two shows going simultaneously.

Entrance to the show will be $25.00 and the Elks will have sandwiches, drinks and snacks available at an extra charge. To play at your venue or to help promote the Banjo-Rama, please contact Ben Dale at 916-392-0139 or online at www.banjo-Rama.com or www.SacramentoBanjoBand.com.

               

               


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Gaines Launches Effort to Repeal Gas Tax

Source: The Office of Ted Gaines  |  2017-04-20

Senator Ted Gaines (R-El Dorado) has stepped up to repeal the Democrat’s recent huge gas tax. He has issued following statements regarding his effort to repeal Senate Bill 1, the transportation proposal recently passed by the legislature that imposes $52 billion in permanent new gas taxes and user fees on California motorists.

“I will be exploring every possible avenue to repeal the gas tax, whether it’s through legislation, an initiative to change or eliminate other gas taxes, or other courses of action. I am going to fight to overturn this unfair and regressive tax and get some justice for the California families and businesses that are getting nickeled and dimed to death.

“The Governor has compared fixing our roads with the urgency of fixing a leaky roof. Well guess what Governor Brown, Californians have already paid to fix the roof but the repairs have not been made and we’re all wondering why we’re left paying for the same service twice.

“And how are the people supposed to believe that this money will actually go to transportation? Currently, the state is diverting a billion dollars in weight fees away from roads every year. According to a recent Legislative Analyst’s Office report, CalTrans is overstaffed by 3,500 people wasting $500 million of road money every year. Why would anyone believe that this new tax isn’t a bait and switch sham where the funds won’t be diverted to pay for pet projects like the High-Speed Rail boondoggle?

“We already have some of the highest gas taxes and worst roads in the country. For years, we’ve starved transportation when we’ve had many billions in surplus, even though it was supposedly a ‘system in crisis.’ Before we take a single penny from Californians in new taxes, it is our duty to make 100-percent certain that we are spending the money we already collect exclusively on road repair and construction. Senate Bill 1 failed to do that and I’m going to make every attempt to make it right.”

Senator Ted Gaines represents the 1st Senate District, which includes all or parts of Alpine, El Dorado, Lassen, Modoc, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Sacramento, Shasta, Sierra and Siskiyou counties.


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